Top 10 Scariest Movies

by Karen Walch | Oct 05, 2021

Psycho
by Alfred Hitchcock

No horror list is complete without mention of Alfred Hitchcock’s groundbreaking and classic horror masterpiece. Every aspect of the film was expertly engineered to make the viewer curious, then uneasy, and finally terrified. Bernard Herrmann’s strings-only score guides your emotions from the get-go and punctuates each plot point perfectly from a tense run-in with law enforcement to the striking staccato of perhaps the most famous horror movie scene of all time. Add on to this great casting, acting, directing, and cinematography and you’ve got a recipe for a film that is a must watch for Halloween every year.

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A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
by Ana Lily Amirpour

Set in Iran in a city appropriately named Bad City, this is the most unique and enjoyable take on a vampire story the library has to offer. The most striking aspect of this movie is it’s expertly color-graded black and white cinematography which provides the perfect backdrop for a lonely vampire stalking the underbelly of a lawless ghost town.

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The Lighthouse
by Robert Eggers

The premise for this movie is so elegantly simple and prime for horror that it’s tagline is just about all the salesmanship it needs: “Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s”. Robert Pattison, Willem Dafoe, liquor, and isolation. The tension, suspicion, and madness all creep in from there for a horror delight.

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The Shining
by Stanley Kubrick

 

Stanley Kubrick is famous for the extreme measures he takes to get the response he’s looking for from his actors. Questionable and morally dubious his methods may be, the haunting and horrifying performance from the actors is undeniable. You can both see and feel the agitation of Jack the alcoholic writer, the fear and threadbare nerves of Wendy the mom, and the otherworldly curiosity-driven terror of young Danny. Put these three in a haunted hotel over a snowed-in winter and watch through your fingers at what unfolds.

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Hereditary
by Ari Aster

Hereditary is about a family dealing with loss and the drama that unfolds from that loss. That said, it is probably the most terrifying movie that also happens to be a family drama that you’ll ever watch. Your jaw will hit the floor more than once as this family-driven tale unfolds. As a bonus, you may recognize the mountainous backdrop as being our very own Utah!

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Get Out
by Jordan Peele

Of the movies on the list this may be the only one that dishes out the horror in equal measure with its comedy and social commentary. It’s rare for a movie to be so many things at once and even more rare than that for it to be all of them so well. The less you know about this movie before watching it, the better the experience will be, so go check it out!

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Halloween
by John Carpenter

A murderer escapes from an asylum. High school girls have their Halloween night plans interrupted. Best not to over-describe or try and over-sell the horror/slasher fun that is John Carpenter’s Halloween. The jumps and scares and slashes are all part of required spooky season viewing.

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Misery


by Rob Reiner

Everyone has seen Kathy Bates take on some roles as powerful women but in Misery all of that is turned up to 11 as she stops at nothing to care for her favorite author after a car accident in a way that only his absolute biggest fan can. By the end of this when you’re done being horrified you’ll absolutely see why Kathy won the Oscar for best actress.

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The Blair Witch Project
by Daniel Myrick

It’s hard to substitute the magic of seeing this in theaters after months of advertising telling you about this real found-footage documentary with no all-knowing google to tell you any different, but that doesn’t mean this movie doesn’t hold up as a scare-your-pants-off genre film.

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Train to Busan
by Sang-Ho Yon

At least one movie on a list like this needs to have zombies in it, and boy, does this movie have zombies in it! Hundreds and hundreds of them. Not only does this movie answer the question “What happens when you have to barricade yourself in a room to guard from zombies but that room is also connected to other rooms and also on rails moving at 100 mph” but it delivers a great story of fighting to survive against some of the most blood-thirsty zombies you’ve ever seen on top of it all. Train to Busan is a great way to round out this list of top 10 scariest movies the library has to offer.

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